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Joseph Wheelan Education. (2012) 'Terrible Swift Sword the Life of General Philip H. Sheridan.'

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Sheridan 88, Mexico 14, Texas 10, Us 8, Virginia 7, Washington 7, Europe 6, Buffalo 6, Louisiana 6, Appomattox 5, U.s. 5, Chicago 5, Oregon 5, Oklahoma 4, Maximilian 4, Bill Sheridan 3, Joshua 3, New York 3, Indians 3, Florida 3,
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  CSPAN    Book TV    Joseph Wheelan  Education.  (2012) 'Terrible  
   Swift Sword the Life of General Philip H. Sheridan.'  

    October 21, 2012
    7:30 - 8:30am EDT  

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shaped the woman i am today. and then also it is an experience that i think right now, with the dreamers, with the young undocumented people who are fighting to get their legal status, i felt it was an important story in terms of giving people an insight into what the situation might be like. and i touch upon the fact that coming you know, my family benefited from the amnesty of 1986. i had a green card at a time that was for team, so the moment i got my green card, you know, the whole world opened up to me and they were so many possibilities that came my way that i was able to jump on because i had a green card and i would really love to see this happen to the dreamers. you know, for us to give them that chance to pursue their dreams and to also get back to society, you know, because they will pay everything back the way
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i have been paying back through my writing, throughout the work that i do. so i want to see that happen for them. >> host: and we have been talking with reyna grande, "the distance between us: a memoir," a simon & schuster title. you are watching booktv on c-span 2. >> joseph wheelan recounts the life of general sure didn't who forced the surrender of robert e. lee at appomattox courthouse. the author recalls general sure didn't postwar career, which included command of the u.s. army. it's about 45 minutes.
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>> i want to thank quiller ridge books for inviting me back and all of you people for coming out to hear about general bill sheridan, who out of the triumvirate of union generals credited with winning civil war companies probably the least known of them. the others being ulysses s. grant and william tecumseh sherman. 1937, the three generals appear together in a commemorative postage stamp. as part of a series with great u.s. military commanders. and to his right is sherman and sheridan is on grants left. this is appropriate because by the time the civil war ended, sheraton was sometimes referred to as the left hand of grant of the left-handed. he was 10 years younger than grant and sherman.
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he was a dynamo, inspired his men with his intensity and personal leadership. he led from the front, but he was false to a careful planner. yet he was one who promptly acted on a plan and once it was made, was willing to change it if the conditions changed on the battlefield. but during the war, sheraton became a household name because of this great victories in the shenandoah valley, especially at cedar creek and for waging what was called a total warfare. he was one of grant's most dependable generals promised so much so that during the closing days of the war, sheraton became the de facto commander in the army of the potomac. few would dispute the sheraton was the most aggressive commanding general of the union had. let grant and sherman, sheraton
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first thought in the worst western theater of stones river, tennessee, his alertness and tenacity seeped general william unmolested the team 62. his divisions termed missionary ridge in november 1863. in march 1864, grant brashear at an east attempt to command the army of the potomac's calvary court. he spent the last year the war in virginia. after the war, sheraton carried out the government through construction policies in louisiana and texas. he waged a cold war in the mexican order. during the plains indian war, he was a top indian fighter. eventually became commander-in-chief of the army and surprisingly, bill sheridan said yellowstone national park from exploitation.
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sure didn't grow up in ohio and graduated from west point in 1853. when the civil war began in 1861, sheraton was immense your dirty world infantry captain can assume in the oregon territory. grant first recognized sheraton's leadership abilities in 1862, when sheraton was commanding a calvary brigade that defeated departure of rebel force in mississippi three months after shiloh. and chat new guy at november 1863, grant watched sheraton and his divisions during missionary ridge and then pursued confederates for hours when no one else did. granted them the sheraton was much like an, someone who would act properly, who would fight always and he would never quit. the hundreds of generals have
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served on those sides of the civil war, that description fit just a handful. grant her a sheraton used when president abraham lincoln appointed grant general in chief of all union forces. his first command was a calvary core of the army of the potomac during grant overland campaign. the union calvary had improved a lot since the beginning of the war, but it is still being used primarily for scouting, guarding wagon trains in controlling ticket lines. sheridan was going to change that. his challenge to an independent strike force. in may 1864, sheridan strippers overwhelmed jeb stuart's rebel calvary. stewart was wounded in the battle and died the next day. it was another hard blow to the
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confederacy, coming almost a year to the day after stonewall jackson stat. grant's confidence in sheridan was rewarded by the title field victories and his impressive postwar achievements. when he was president, grant once told the congressmen that sheridan had no superior as a general, living or dead and possibly no equal. sheridan said grant was capable of more than generalship. he could manage a territory as large as any two nations can cover anywhere. the sheridan would never ran so high, nor would you cut cities and counties named after him without cedar creek. the statue and sheridan circle in washington, he picked sheridan on his towering warhorse regency and the act of
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rallying his army at cedar creek, green with h. can a statute can be's electric energy. lincoln and more secretary edward stanton had taught 33 redshirted too young when grant proposed in july 1864 he would command the new army of the shenandoah. cheriton sias contributed contributed to the impression of youth that he project good. he was just five for five and only 115 pounds in 1864. but as grant memorably repulsed to one officer commented on sheridan's diminutive stature, i think i'll find plenty big enough for the job. just before sheridan's appointment, confederate general jubal early and 14,000 troops had marched on the shenandoah
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valley across the potomac into washington. the tremendous shock, capital was thrown into a panic. grant rushed troops to the city from his army outside petersburg and early withdrew. to prevent a recurrence, the lincoln administration merged for a military department into a new one with sheridan in charge of it. he was ordered to pursue jubal early army to the death and to destroy the shenandoah valley greens, produce and livestock. grant told sheridan that nothing should be left to invite the enemy to return. at first, sheridan took little more. he then cautioned not to go on the offensive until he was sure of it jury. a defeat would harm president lincoln's reelection chances in
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november. and this was his first major command, said he was moving carefully. in mid-september, sheridan learned from an informant, the quaker schoolteacher in winchester named rebecca wright that have sent to a man to robert army. sheridan saw his chance. on september 19, he attacked early army and defeated it at the third title of winchester. three days later, sheridan survey followed up with the second victory of fishersville. after the tube that teresa in september, sheridan did not expect an attack by the rebels, who are out numbered roughly two to one, but at daybreak, october 19, they launched a bright surprise attack, literally catching the union soldiers sleeping. they routed sheridan's 34,009.
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sheridan was not there. three days before, he has been summoned to meetings in washington and get not return to his army. he spent the night in winchester, 15 miles away. after a quick breakfast on the left winchester with his staff had escort. news of the debacle that was still unfolding at cedar creek had not yet reached him. writings have come your cannon fire as he and his entourage grew closer, the firing crew latter. then reaching a whole top of the sheridan saw the magnitude of the disaster that it befallen his army. soldiers swarmed towards winchester in disordered retreat. he stopped to his next move and try to reform a new line near winchester. most commanders would've thought only of damage control at this point. this is where sheridan demonstrated his greatness.
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he wrote down upon his disheartened men, exhorting them to turn back from eight. they saw their fire commander on his big warhorse. men began to cheer. they threw their hats in the air. he rode on, shouting to his men that they would with early army that day asleep in their camps that night. twice the tories, under sheridan's command, the men believed. they turn backed by the thousands that followed him. late that afternoon, sheridan counterattacked in smash released army to pieces. confederate general john gordon wrote that the yankees rolled up his flank like a scroll, brigade after brigade were crashed in rapid succession and discord and put it, the superb commands crumbled to pieces. henceforth come the union forces controlled shenandoah valley.
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in washington can the citizens predebate torchlight through the streets in celebration. standing up open window under the white house portico, president lincoln proposed three cheers for sheridan. two months earlier, lincoln had despaired of being realized to increase shocking casualties during the overland campaign without a decisive victory has strength and peace party but the calculus had changed. sherman had captured atlanta and not sheridan had beaten the rebel army in the shenandoah valley. months after cedar creek, sheridan return grants main army as they petersburg. on april 1st, 1865, sheridan broke the eight months he shipped petersburg acoustic trio by forks. first clear-cut triumph of
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grants virginia campaign of 1864 and 1865, grant's army stormed into petersburg the next day with a tattered army of northern virginia retreated west. the pursuit that the sheridan ended a week later at appomattox courthouse on april 9, palm sunday. they are coming sheridan, has calvary into infantry chorus, robert e. lee's pass to virginia is not. after the confederates surrendered, grant immediately censured to louisiana and texas to force capitulation of rebel armies in the southwest. by the time shared and reached dorland's, the army saturday surrendered. so instead can be shared and devoted his attention to the second mission given him by grant, to lead an army to the
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rio grande river and menaced the french troops in mexico under the emperor, maximilian. maximilian had come to power in mexico during the civil war and he has supported the confederacy former rebel troops streaming into mexico, seeking refuge. the state department opposed any actions towards mexico. so sheridan today clandestine cold war, arguably the first in u.s. history. he conducted conspicuous troop maneuvers near the rio grande river and the secretly provided mexican insurgents with weapons from the federal arsenal. partly due to sheridan zephyrs, but also events in europe, the emperor, napoleon the third cam withdrew his support of maximilian. maximilian's regime collapsed and the mexican insurgents that sheridan has ordered took
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control of their country. sheridan was a military governor of texas and louisiana during the early phases of reconstruction. the army commanders in the south were caught between congresses harsh reconstruction policies and president andrew johnson's opposition to them. most of them kept a low profile. sheridan did not. urged on by grant, he alone removed the light at officials who defied congress' policies, fired scores of them to the governors of louisiana and is. consequently, president johnson remove sheridan as military governor. he was transferred to the west to command the district encompassing the southern great plains. they are indeed were your plans for slaughtering settlers in
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western kansas in eastern colorado. and it was here that sheridan began prosecuting with brutal effectiveness strategy yet implemented in the shenandoah valley, one of total war. as ration the shenandoah valley with a milder form of an older, crueler warfare that did not distinguish between soldiers and civilians. i 1864, lincoln, grant, sheridan and sherman were in agreement that inflicting suffering on southern civilians would more quickly and in bloodshed. urging sheridan to conduct a total war and the shenandoah grant road, is the worst to last another year, we want the shenandoah valley to remain a barren waste. sheridan believed he was more merciful to destroy part of the thing to kill southern man. he wrote, if i had a barn full
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of wheat, i would much sooner leaves the barn and wheat and may send. unlike the writers of ancient time, sheridan's men were usually careful to spare civilian lives. still, the burning, as it was called, horrified and are valley resident. one described how the invaders came up to valley, sweeping everything before them, like a hurricane. there's nothing left for manner he is from were stunned at the chicken. on the great plains, sheridan deprive the strategy only with less regard for collateral damage. hastert by the governments failure to provide enough food to them under oklahoma reservations, warriors traded to new settlements on the plane. they looted, and burned. they killed the man and carried off women and children.
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sheridan is officially sent the calvary after the raiders, just as his predecessors had in the spring and summer, but it is an exercise in futility. troopers could never capture the young cheyenne and arapahoe warriors. they knew the country well. so sheridan elected to strike the indians in their winter camps, where they had previously been laughed. there they would be most vulnerable and least expect the net attack. an attack in indian village, sheridan was acting with responsibility. another words, civilian were culpable too. shared and had just one man might to lead the team succeed winter expedition. george armstrong custer. the union might calvary. custer had served under sheridan
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achille tavern in the shenandoah valley, had five forks of sailors creek and appomattox. sheridan raced custer through the ranks, just as grant had raised sheridan. custer and sheridan work hinders spirits, both energetic, aggressive, bold and aspiring commanders who led from the front. as sheridan had become grants go to commander, so had custer become sheridan's most dependable hard hitter. custer and 800 men from the seventh calvary hit cheyenne chief black kettle is camped in present-day oklahoma, at daybreak november 27, 1868 comest no wait heap on the ground and it was bitter cold. the indians were caught completely offguard. 103 of them were killed. then the troopers slaughtered 800 of their horses and burned
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their lodges, food and supplies. sheridan's troopers pursued the cheyenne throughout the winter. the indians are priced so hard that they have little time to even hunt. they were kept constantly on the move. hungry and ragged, they gave up a summer 1869 and came into the reservations who smashed the power of the southern plains indians. sheridan and sherman would in the eastern price for their ruthless tactics, but the western settlers hailed them as their saviors. in 1876, custer was brought in began to hope wage the pivotal campaign to force the northern plains indians under the reservations. the little bighorn river in montana, he was careless in overreached.
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thousands of northern plains indians pounced on custer and his more than 200 men and wiped them out. little bighorn was a galvanic shock the nation. now even former critics of sheridan agreed from the indians must be suppressed at whatever cost. sheridan planned another winter campaign, but paid to whether of his favorite lieutenants from the civil war, nelson miles and randall mckinsey. in subzero temperatures committee heard the indians can attach their camps and burned their lodges. this summer 1877, on the northern plains indians had surrendered at the reservations. sheridan to read this little bighorn battlefield the year after the disaster to try to understand how it had been. he wrote, poor custer, he was the embodiment of gallantry. as always fearful he would catch
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it at the last supper command. he was too impetuous without deliberation. sheridan, sherman and grant have long believed that a permanent solution to the so-called indian problem might be the extermination of the buffalo. the indians depended on the dyson for food, clothing and shelter as the buffalo could be wiped out, the indians would have to live on the reservation in order to beat. but at the end of the civil war, more than 10 million buffalo still roamed the great plains. then, german tenders invented a process, turned buffalo hides into high-grade leather. in 1871, east coast tanneries begin to pay premium prices for buffalo hides. teams of buffalo hunters flooded the southern plains with their big 50 buffalo guns and
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commenced wiping out the great herds. in just a few years, the buffalo disappeared from the southern plains. members of congress and some state legislatures tried to stop the slaughter, the sheridan, grant and sherman block them. sheridan told the texas legislature at the buffalo hunters had done more in two years to pass by the indians in the army had done it 30. taxes should give each hunter and bronze medal but they do a flow on one side and he discouraged looking on the other by the end of the 1880s, just a few dozen buffalo remained in the west. while sheridan was running the most successful warrior generals, there's another side to him. he believed in fairness.
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in texas and louisiana, after the civil war, you defend it freed them and they have become the target of southern erie over losing the war. many former confederate states, generals overseeing reconstruction turned a blind eye to the lynchings come in readings in burnings. sheridan, however, dismiss select at officials who condoned the massacre of blacks in new orleans. he connected with any of that the first official act of racial integration in the south, vanishing separate strict cars in new orleans for blacks and whites. there was little he could do to defend blacks in texas. the state was too vague and sheridan had too few true. in 1865 and 1866, 500 white men were indicted for murder in blacks and not one of them was
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convicted. but texas can sheridan memorably said, if i have held in texas, i would rent out texas and live in. [laughter] when the plains indians were last overwhelmed forced to live on the reservations have a sheridan tried to defend them, too. , sheridan tried to defend them, too. , sheridan tried to defend them, too. for supplies and asked defend them, too. for supplies and acts toward it then. the u.s. government looked the other way. sheridan and sherman repeatedly advocated letting the army managed the reservations. but they were foiled by the indian bureau and its contractors, lobbyists and rational supporters. in 1878, sheridan vented his frustration to sherman, writing, we have occupied this country can't take it away as public
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domain to register at its roots in game come up, penned about the reservations and reduced into poverty. for humanity's sake, let us give him enough to beat and integrity in the agence overhead. sheridan questioned whether treaties and military camp paints have been the best way to deal with the plains and spirit rather than better, sharon rocha and if the indians had received kind treatment administered the steadiness injustice. in 1872, yellowstone became the first national park. sheridan always had shown a keen interest in the region. he sent for expeditions into the park, beginning in 1871. in 1882, sheridan personally led a major expedition to the park. it was then that he learned the northern pacific railroad plan to build an 80-mile spur line into the park and to commercialize it. the river is development come to
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me, it turned out, own exclusive rights to 4400 acres on seven tracks. in his report on the 1882 expedition, sheridan wrote that yellowstone was also being degraded by neglect. poachers were killing thousands of out each year as well as other game. the geysers were routinely vandalized. sheridan said the park should be protected, expanded in may to preserve for big game. he called on congress to act and solicited support from sportsmen's clubs around the country. he proposed using the army is necessary to keep a game. the following year, senator george best of misery pushed an amendment through congress to reduce the area that could be developed in the park from 4400 acres to just 10.
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also, under the bill, the army could be deployed as a last resort to protect the park. that is exactly what happened in 1886 when northern pacific's allied zeroed out the park and part rangers stopped receiving paychecks. in august 1886, sheridan ordered the first u.s. calvary to the park to operate it until further notice. the army did so for the next 32 years until the new national park service took over in 1980 team. in 1884, general the army, william sherman retired and bill sheridan succeeded him as the army's commanding general. sheridan became the first army general in chief whose entire adult life had spent in uniform.
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he was general achieve for just four years. he died of heart disease in august 1888 at the age of 57. sheridan is remembered as the rare commander who could inspire and it provides on the battlefield. this is evident that stones river, missionary ridge, winchester, cedar creek, five forks and appomattox courthouse. he transformed the calvary core into a lethal strike force, capitalizing on a superior mobility and the firepower of its repeating rifles. sheridan was also singular and the use of calvary, infantry and artillery in support of one another. in his book, the science of four, the british military and gfr henderson wrote that with one exception, 19th century american generals had been
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unequal to the task of combining the three arms in battle, exception of sheridan. henderson wrote the sheridan's operations in the shenandoah valley and during his pursuit of the confederate army to appomattox deserves for closer study. the pioneers are 20th century armored warfare thoughts so as they sit at the of sheridan and others like him as they forged a new template for battle in the blitzkrieg. tanks are placed calvary and a new element was introduced, the warplane. ..
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>> sheridan also, as he put it, showed his greatness with that touch of originality which we call genius. [applause] happy to take any questions. i'm sure there are some. yes, sir. >> you mentioned in the beginning that relatively little historical focus has been placed on him. why is that? i mean, would that -- you know, pretty amazing. >> yeah, it is. there's a very good reason for that. all of his papers were burned in the great chicago fire of 1871. he was, at the time he was
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commander of the division of the missouri, and he had moved to that district in chicago because of the railroads going through this. and the great chicago fire wiped out the headquarters. so we don't have that much to go on. you have to, i mean, i was forced to really rely heavily on people that served with him, their autobiographies, the official records of the civil war, of course, and then he wrote his personal memoirs, and he had papers after that point. so i think that's probably one of the main reasons, just material. yes, sir. >> i wonder if you'd done any -- i really enjoyed the book, by the way. i didn't know anything about sheridan until i read this. >> thank you. >> but it raised a question i've had for a long time as why in -- it's related -- the generalship
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of the confederacy was so poor in the western compared to the eastern side. and my thinking had always been that if sheridan and sherman and grant had faced the same kind of generals, they might not have survived long enough to become competent b generals. >> it's possible, yeah. yeah, the quality of the generals in the west wasn't that great. i think it's because so many of the good ones came out of virginia, and they defended tear state. their state. so when grant came east, he was hailed as being a great general in the west. and everybody said, well, he hasn't faced robert e. lee yet. and that proved to be the case. he had a tough time with him during his campaign. yes. >> um, did sheridan have any input with what happened to the
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indians and where they were sent? geronimo was sent to florida never to return, but sitting bull was with the bill cody show and traveled europe. he's like the icon, and everybody accepts -- it just does not compute or make sense. did, did he have anything to do with anything? >> he did with geronimo because geronimo was, well, he was the last to give up. and he gave up, and then he went back out, and then he gave up again, went back out and came in. so sheridan wanted to stop that. and so he decided the best thing to do would be to just ship him to florida, which is what they did. [laughter] there's a photo in the book -- >> [inaudible] >> yeah. well, they eventually went back. they ended up on the oklahoma reservation after a couple years in florida. but he had, yeah, he had direct input into that. as far as the other
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reservations, not so much. that was a policy made by the indian bureau, department of the interior. and that's why the army wanted to get control of it, because they thought they could do a better job and keep better track of everybody and treat 'em more fairly. yes, sir. >> can you tell us a little bit about sheridan's personal life? >> yes. um, he married late. he was in his early 40s, and he married the daughter of daniel rucker who was quartermaster general for sheridan's department in missouri, division in missouri and chicago. met her during the great chicago fire. she was just a teenager, and rucker and his wife and irene lost their home. so they came over, and they
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stayed with sheridan and his brother at their home which was not damaged by the fire. so they were married, and he ended up having three daughters and a son, and she was, i think, in her early 20s when they married in 1875. and he was 42 or something like that. they had a very happy marriage. and then she -- they all moved to washington went he became general in chief. but before that he did not have a home life at all. i mean, his life was the army. yes. >> [inaudible] into the west, and he was out there because of the expansion. was it just northerners, or were the southerners into manifest destiny too? >> oh, they were into it too. yeah, definitely. >> so it would have happened
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regardless if the south had won? >> i think so. they were into it before the war because they hoped to get more slave statements out there, too, and -- states out there, too, and keep the balance in congress and everything. yeah, there were southerners. but the great majority, i would say, just because of the way the population was -- and the immigrants all came into the northeast. they kind of flowed from the northeast through the midwest and on out. but there were some southerners, definitely. not as many though. yes, sir. >> since sheridan demonstrated such great qualities of leadership, was he ever approached about running for political office? >> yeah, i think it was mentioned. he never had any interest in it at all. not at all. and i think he's kind of a little rough around the edges
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for that too. he wasn't a politician. sherman was highly intelligent, polished, came from a good family, and he was solicited. but i don't think sheridan ever was. there's some biographers that i've read that think that sheridan was born in ireland but that he, that he, that he said he was born in albany, new york, because he always knew he wanted to run for president, you know? just in case he wanted to run, you know? [laughter] i don't believe that. i think he might have been born in ireland, i think there's pretty strong evidence that he was, came over on the boat. but i think he gave his birthplace as albany, new york, because there was such a bias against the irish when he went
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to west point in 1848, and it was at the height of the immigration, the potato famine and everything. a million irish came over. so i think he just wanted to avoid that. he didn't want to be cast as an immigrant, you know? another irish immigrant. >> did you say that he fired two governors, am i correct? governors of two states, and under whose authority could he fire governors? >> well, he -- [laughter] he thought he had the authority under congress' reconstruction policies, and and he did actually, because they had refused to cooperate. so he did. he fired the governor of louisiana, and -- but after he fired the governor of texas, then he was removed. [laughter] yeah.
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>> if he was irish, he was probably cat hick, and most of the -- catholic, and most of the southerners at that time -- [inaudible] particularly in texas because the alamo was -- [inaudible] >> yeah, he was catholic, definitely. yes. >> what did he think of reno and -- [inaudible] behavior at little bighorn, and did he get involved in those boards of inquire afterwards? >> i don't think he did, no. he did not get involved in that. and i really have seen no -- he kind of handed that over to others. i mean, he was pretty high up at that point. he was in charge of the division but not the department. but identify never seen anything on that. >> caller: didn't he say. -- >> isn't he say the only good
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indian was a dead indian? >> it was close to that. they say that was an old saying out in the west, but he was at a fort down in oklahoma, and he was introduced to an indian chief, and he said me so and so, me good indian. and sheridan looked at him and said, well, the only good indians i ever saw were dead ones. [laughter] and it somehow ended up in the newspapers about the time when the army was involved in this horrible attack in montana on the wrong indian village and wiped out, like, 150 innocent indians. so it really, it really looked good. yes, sir. >> of course, many of the top generals on both sides were able to get some experience during the mexican war in '32-'33. he didn't have that ton.
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where did these leadership capabilities come from at such an early age? >> well, he was in oregon when they were trying to suppress the indians there, oregon and washington. called it the oregon territory, it was actual washington state. and he led some small unit operations along the columbia river, and he also managed an indian reservation on the pacific coast of oregon too. so he had some experience there. but he started out small, in mississippi he was given command of a cavalry regiment, and then he evidently just showed his abilities, training and what little experience he had. he'd been in the army a long time by then, you know? yes. >> had he ever faced forest or morgan in cavalry battles?
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>> no. no, he department. the only cavalry he commanded was under the army of the potomac and then the army of the shenandoah in virginia. when he was in the west, he was in charge of an infantry division, stone's river and missionary ridge. yes. >> you covered quite a range of history. do you have another book in mind? >> yes. i'm working on a civil war book, actually. it's kind of more focused on the 40 days grant's overland campaign through northern virginia, that bloody campaign against lee. wilderness, cold harbor and then the siege at petersburg began. that's my current project.
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yes. >> was he married already with his children when he was sent to meet with bismarck? >> no. >> he was not married then? >> huh-uh. that was about five years before he was married. that is an interesting episode which i didn't get into here. he was, he went to europe and observed the franco-prussian war. and he was an observer with the prussian army. and his traveling companion was otto von bismarck. and he sat in on all the meetings with the king, william i, and the high command, witnessed all the big battles in which the french were crushed. and during this time the germans, prussians, encountered something they hadn't before
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which was guerrilla activity in the villages. guerrillas were cutting telegraph lines, they were sniping at soldiers on the roads, at troops in the up toes, and they -- anyway, sheridan was at dinner one night with bismarck and the king and some of the high command, and they said, well, we don't know how to deal with this because in their view they were still wed to the old 18th century view of warfare. warfare was a battle between armies, and the civilians were left out entirely. so sheridan told them, he said, look, you have to, you have to involve the civilians too. it will shorten the bloodshed. he said, you should leave, you should leave the people with nothing but their eyes to weep
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with, is what he told them. and they were shocked. [laughter] they really were. and he said, you know, if you're sniped at in a village, hang the guerrillas, burn the village, that's what he would do. so they pondered this a while. [laughter] and biz mark implemented that policy -- bismarck implemented that policy. and they started doing that retaliation. so he did have an effect there. and then after that became part of the officer's manual for the german army in 1902. i go into that in the book, the legacy of guerrilla war. >> [inaudible] >> what's that, ma'am? >> i said, the germans learned it well. >> oh, yes. they carried it far beyond,
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yeah. but, you know, before the 18th century that's how war was conducted in europe certainly. i mean, they -- civilians, soldiers, they burned the villages, they killed everybody, turned them into slaves. those religious wars in europe, they're horrible. but then with the rise of the nation-state in europe these professional armies would coout and fight -- go out and fight, there'd be casualties, and they would go back and negotiate a peace. and that's what the prussians were used to. >> well, since you wrote about sherman, is your next book going to be more northern than southern? [laughter] >> no. no. the 40 days -- i think it'll be a balanced approach to not only, i mean, grant definitely is a prime mover of this campaign. but lee and his, his core
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comearnds, how they reacted, and they very ably defended themselves against overwhelming numbers. it was a very skillful defense all the way down through virginia. so it'll be more of a balanced approach. >> [inaudible] [laughter] >> yes, sir. >> this is a hitting bit politically in-- a little bit politically incorrect, but i was just wondering if the actions that sherman and sheridan engaged in, how would that fit in to what we consider war crimes now? >> war crimes? well, certainly what they did on the great plains would be war crimes. what they did in georgia and the shenandoah valley, i'm not so
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sure. because they tried to spare civilian lives. they were just into, they were the -- the purpose was to destroy southern resources and their ability to wage war. so i think that would be arguable. but certainly on the great plains, yes. >> we want to thank you. [applause] >> you're watching booktv on c-span2, 48 hours of nonfiction authors and books every weekend. >> on november 4th booktv will sit down with social media writer clay shirky on "in
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depth." join the event and post your questions for the author and then watch booktv to hear your questions answered during this live three-hour program. facebook.com/booktv. >> this book in particular deals, i think, at its heart with several deserts, but ultimately the subtitle is "book and bust in the new old west," so i'm looking at the way the economy affects our lives, the way the economy gets into our very bodies. um, it's a book that i wrote because i -- my body arrived in the desert under very particular circumstances in the winter of 1997 when i was broke, broken and on drugs.
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i was in mexico city where i had been lucky enough to go under a book contract from new york. i got an advance from a new york publisher to write a book. it was, you know, a dream come true, and in mexico city by november of 1997 i had crossed the deadline, and i didn't have a word written. and i was broke. and i called the only friend that i could count on at that point because my lifestyle had led me to troy a lot of my -- destroy a lot of my relationships. i called a performing artist who i'd met through the sol dare network, you know? ardent politics back in the 980s. and i said, eddie -- [speaking spanish] and she happened to be living in the village of joshua tree, california, at that particular time. and there's a whole set of
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circumstances that led her to, you know, who's from a -- she's from the tropics of central america, you know, how did she wind up in the december merit everybody has a story out in the desert of how they got there. she said, ruben -- [speaking spanish] we'll take care of you, we'll give you a place to live. and shortly therefore i arrived in the desert, and one of the first things i saw when i rented my little shack out in the sand next to a sign that said next services, 100 miles, the town of 29 palms east of joshua tree, i saw myself driven to go further and further out. eddie and her friends were in the village of joshua tree which was right at the edge of a beautiful -- you guys know joshua tree, right? u2's album, at least. crazy arm like that. [laughter]
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well, i wanted to go further out. there was something existential that was driving me further and further out into the big empty, as they say in the desert. and also the further out the rent got cheaper and cheaper. so i was paying $2 75 a month be for a two-bedroom house on the edge of 29 palms right where that sign said next services, 100 miles, and that's where this book begins. it begins with a personal crisis and arriving -- it was no accident that i arrived on this particular landscape. ultimately, the desert has been the site of restorative pilgrimage for my eleven california -- millennia. and at that particular moment, i don't think i was aware what i was doing. i didn't say to myself i'm in big trouble with my life, i must go heal in the desert, but
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ultimately, that's the space i was entering. and later on i realized that all the symbolism was there to receive me. i began the process of healing and getting to know this place which included almost immediately dealing with the fact that i was with arriving on a landscape that had as many problems as mexico city with drugs. i was coming from a place of addiction and all the pain and struggle that dose -- that goes with that and arriving in a place where meth labs were exploding and where young marines were training and be doing lots of drugs to escape the terrible reality in their heads and in their bodies. finish so if i was going to a site that carried ancient, some ancient symbolism of restorative
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pilgrimage, i was at in the place that was the opposite of that. many years after i moved to joshua tree and 29 palms -- actually, just a few years later -- i met my partner, angela garcia, who happens to be sitting in the audience tonight, teaches at stanford and has written a wonderful book called "the past or alkalinic" -- pastoral clinic." that's one of the things that i fell for about her, the fact that she was a desert girl from new mexico, the south valley. and we ended up living in new mexico tomorrow. while she was doing research for her dissertation on addiction.
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shout out to stanford, we have some stanford people remitting here tonight. [laughter] and so i followed angela onto another landscape, northern new mexico, which i'd already seen. i'd been there a couple times as a tourist when i was younger. but we've all seen northern new mexico represented artistically ad nauseam. whether it's, you know, the little postcard in the carousel in a truck stop or ansel adams, georgia o'keefe, the writers, films, how many westerns, you know, have we seen that have the landscape of mesas and buttes? northern new mexico if particular has a very powerful draw i in terms of its enchanced landscape.
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indeed, the state -- official state nickname of new mexico is land of enchantment which carries a whiff, i think, of new age mysticism with it and makes it soft and glowy and warm and fuzzy and tends to on sure a much more complicated reality. and ultimately, that's what desert america is about. it's how we imagine the desert or how the desert has been imagined for us by the many distinct representations that have created this imagery, have created, you know, this vision of the desert for us that is consumedded, that is bought and sold, that is the stage upon which real estate, ultimately, is sold and hotels and staying at hotels and tourist packages, etc. and how complicated the actual human geography of the place is. there's the imagined place, and there's the lived place. so i'm going to take you to
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northern new mexico, um, briefly here. angela chose northern new mexico, she's from central new mexico, albuquerque. beith of our -- both of our families have issues with addiction. i think that was another point of end counter between us. end -- encounter between us. but she chose northern new mexico, i think, not to be right next door to her family, you know? is but close enough so that we could visit often. and also because northern new mexico, there's this place called the espanol lavallee which runs along highway 5 which ultimately comes out of santa fe and, taos. and that place in northern new mexico has the highest rate of